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Cycle of Violence

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The cycle of violence is composed of three phases: the tension building phase, active battering phase and calm loving respite phase. Dr. Lenore Walker identifies the cycle of violence in the book "The Battered Woman" this book is based the research of women who had been in abusive relationships (safehome.org).

The first phase is tension building. In this phase the victim is subjected to verbal abuse. The tension between a couple builds and arguments erupt easily (safehome.org). In this phase the woman tries to pacify her batterer by using techniques that have worked previously. Typically, the woman showers her abuser with kindness or attempts to avoid him (domesticviolence.org). According to the safe home website the author states "This is when accusations are made, everyday become unbearable disturbances and tension in the environment increases" (safehome.org). The victim in this phase the woman may describes the experience as walking on eggshells. This phase may last for at least a day or two or it could go on for several months or even years.

The second phase is the active battering phase. This is the phase that the fights actually occur. There may be slapping, pushing, hitting, biting kicking or shoving (safehome.org). In this phase the violence is usually triggered by the presence of an external event by the abuser's emotional state but not by the victim's behavior. Any little thing will make the abuser snapped and physically attack the victim. This phase the violence is unpredictable and inevitable and the statistics that indicate that the risk of the batterer murdering his victim is at its greatest (domesticviolence.org). The batterer places his victim in a constant state of fear and she is unable to control her batterer's violence. The victim realizes that her lack of control attempts to mitigate the violence by becoming passive. The victim feels helpless and feels trapped in the relationship. The victim is traumatized and the batterer will blame the victim for him abusing her (hruth.org).

The third phase is calm loving respite. This phase the abuser is loving, apologetic and attentive. The abuser is manipulative. The abuser promises he will change (hruth.org). The abuser will apologize to his victim for his behavior and promises that he will never do it again. The behavior exhibited by the abuse in this phase closely resembles the behavior when the couple first started to date (hruth.org). This phase is the most psychologically victimizing phase because the abuser fools the victim who the abuse is over and her abuser has changed. The victim also feels guilty and responsible. The victim sometimes considers reconciliation. The victim will often recants/minimizes abuse (hruth.org).

To break the cycle the first thing is ask for help. It may be hard but in order to get away from it just ask for help. But if the victim tells someone she can get the help that she needs.

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